He says anything is possible once you have joined the Landmark Forum. So when another common friend does a good job at work, which I casually appreciate, he says, “Obviously he’d do a good job he has attended the forum, now anything is possible.”

I don’t get the logic. Isn’t it impossible to have a situation where everything is possible?

He wanted me to join the forum, he still wants but I am not convinced I need the forum. He invited me over to attend an evening session with the Forum where each participant were supposed to bring as guests, people they think could benefit by the forum and share with them, the breakthrough feelings that they have had after attending 3 days of forum.

First part of the evening:

The evening began with the leader of the forum, a guy in his mid / late 30s, smooth talker, witty, friendly, coming on stage and sharing his first encounter with the forum. How he was totally skeptical about it, thinking it to be yet another marketing gimmick, how he thought of joining it only to get his friend off his back, and then ended up being the leader of the forum.

He shared how his whole life has changed in those 3 days. He went on saying things like, what you get from the forum is beyond your perceptions. The forum works in the dark area of your mind which you don’t even know exist. It opens you up to things you don’t even know that you don’t know. Like you cannot write the theory of a cycle balance, like you can’t define how you walk or breathe, what you get from the forum and how it creates new possibilities for your life is also indefinable.

Having said all that, he invited members from the audience who are participants of the forum to come on stage and share their experiences. A lot of hands were raised but due to time constraint only 3 of them could be called upon. It was predictable these three could have been concerted.

Second part of the evening:

First, a man in his 60s who, thanks to the forum, have been able to communicate with his wife after 10 years, who could tell his mom (who also was the guest on the forum) how much he loves and worships her. Also, how he is thankful that his brother bailed him out of jail etc. Nice.

Second, a lady in her mid 30s. She was having a lot of trouble at her work and almost wanted to kill her boss. The forum helped her honestly communicate with her boss on certain things she feels about her. And now she thinks her boss is her best friend, she has been a happy person since she joined forum, she isn’t being hysterical anymore, or cribbing anymore. Nice.

Third, a law student, didn’t get her story much. I wasn’t paying attention may be. But she too said she spoke to her dad after 10 years and that she never told her mom “I love you”, but after the forum she could.

[Hmm nice, but I never told my mom or dad or sister, I love you, but I know that they know that I love them. And I know that they love me more than anything else in the world although they never said that to me. Man, I didn’t even know you gotta say all that to your parents. I do see a lot of these troubled kids in Hollywood movies though, but I never knew it’s happening in India also. And I do communicate a lot. I have had confessed thrice, “I have a crush on you” to 3 different men. They all turned me down, but I aint discouraged yet. Just few days back I told another man the same thing. Common if that’s not communication what else is?]

Those were thoughts running in my head after hearing participant’s experience. The leader was back on stage by now and has begun his speech again. He was saying, “you must know that your host (which means my friend in this case) has a lot of care for you, that you are important to your host, so you must trust your host.”

Now, this part touched me a lot. I almost had a crush on my host. I am one stupid romantic fool to tell you the truth. Slightest hint of someone taking care of me and I’ll fall for him. And then when he’ll see I am being this dumb mushy girl falling for him just cause he showed some caring attitude, he thinks “oh, she seemed to be a strong, independent, daring woman of substance, but looks like she isn’t.” That’s how most men fall out of crush with me.

Not their fault, I have this strange sense of romance. I like being a kid, I like being taken care of, even though I don’t need it. Some one holds my hand while crossing a busy road, I like it. I don’t need it, I have been crossing roads for 30 years I know how to cross a damn road, but I still like it. I wanna be a boss for the world, but to that one man, I want to loose my whole self. I used to be this kid in front of Munish. He had a habit of being over protective, and we were going great. But the trouble was Munish had originally fallen for the strong and independent feminist. Once he had spent enough time with me he realized he can’t see her around. Instead, who he have is, an over sentimental, possessive girl next door.

Why the hell am I talking about my love life? I was talking ’bout what happened in Landmark Forum. So the leader asked us to trust our respective hosts and join the forum. He then gave some 15 min time for the guest and host to do some more talking and then get ourselves registered. The registration costs are INR 700 and the total cost of the 3 day course is INR 5600.

So my host, my friend, said, “I am telling you I have gained from this and I know its good for you. You’ll have answers to a lot of your question if you do this. Please trust me and join.”

But I won’t budge. I was not trying to be stubborn. Just that it was not coming from within, that I should join this forum. So I told him, “I completely trust you my friend, and I am touched that you have been so thoughtful about me, I would probably join it if you would ask me to do so for ‘you’, but if you’d give me a choice to make, I would choose not to join.”

He didn’t insist any further. I saw a large number of people going forward and registering for the forum. I kept worrying if I had hurt his feelings by not joining the forum.

Third part of the evening:

Those of us who chose not to join the forum were then broken into smaller groups (separating us from our hosts) of 10-15 people each and taken to a room where one of the Forum volunteers gave us an introduction session on, “how Landmark Forum helps you.”

The volunteer begin by sharing her own experience with Landmark forum. We were all given a workbook. As she shared her story we were asked to write the answers down relating the questions to our live.

The workbook: the first 3 steps

So the first question was, of all the aspects in life, what are the areas in your life that are not working out. Relationship – with family, co-workers, friends, career, education, sports, health, fitness, spirituality, emotions, love & romance, travel, leisure, fun activity, etc. etc. basically any damn aspect of your life which is not working out.

To begin with, I saw the workbook had a total of 6 columns, (i) areas working out, (ii) areas not working out, (iii) area you are working on (I got stuck here only, so I’ll mention the rest 3 later, let me first tell you why I was stuck here) I wondered why isn’t there a 4th column asking ‘area you are NOT working on?’ Ok, that would be stupid to ask but the point is what if I am not working on any area at all. What if I think everything about my life is just perfect, there is nothing that I need to work on. Relationships with my family and sibling can’t be any better, I have a reasonably good job, can pay my bills, great friends circle. Yes I do feel low at times, I do fight with mom and dad but that’s being alive. Life is a roller coaster you don’t need to get ‘worked’ up with the ‘downs’ cause there would always be ‘ups’.

So basically I had no where else to go from here. This place isn’t for me cause I am not working on anything at all. Still, I wanted to cooperate with the volunteer in the session. So I picked love and romance as the area in my life which is not working out and I am trying to work. I should have picked sex actually but I didn’t want to shock her moral crap out. And it makes sense also, for some one who comes across as one of the most sought after personality, at her 30 and still single, it makes sense to chose this area. Truth however is, I am NOT working on this aspect. By default and by nature you cannot work on love and romance. Love happens you don’t work on it.

The next 3 steps:

So we have picked up the area the next questions or columns were (iv) probable almost certain future (v) What’s missing the presence of which would make a difference, and finally (vi) Inventing a new possibility.

Your Probable Almost Certain Future:

At this step she asked, as you are working on an area, answer yourself 3 questions what are you doing, what are you having, who are you being. I couldn’t find answers to these questions, I and I am sure many in the room didn’t even get the question. The volunteer related the questions to her experience, which helped.

She said, I wanted to decorate my new flat for a long time. But me and my husband could never find out the time. We’d always procrastinate the tasks. So what I was doing was procrastinating the task. Who I was being was some one who is unimportant, unworthy because I was not doing something which is important to my happiness. I would visit other people’s nicely decorated houses and come back home cursing my work schedule or my husband for not taking time out etc. So what I was having was frustration.

I tried to relate her story to my area. What am I doing? Making friends, going out drinking, smoking, calling blogger’s meet and meeting many interesting people everyday chatting with some of them on Gtalk, accepting them if they ask me out for a date. Although I rarely ask anybody out. Admittedly I have a fear of rejection. So who am I being? I am being single. Not lonely but alone. Yes, I do have some bad evenings when I feel like crying, when I wish I had that some one special by my side. But they are just bad evenings and the next day am fine. What am I having? A feeling that there aren’t many guys out their who would accept me the way I am. Finding my man seems to be difficult and there is a possibility I would always be single.

Bingo there you go, your probable almost certain future which you have created for yourself by thinking the way you think.” That’s what the volunteer would have told me if I would have told her what I was thinking. And I dare not even think what would my friend say if he heard that or if he reads this post.

But I have a POV here. Yes I have created my own probable almost certain future, which, at times I am afraid, does become sad and lonely. And this is being created because I have been carrying things from the past. But is it really right to say just bury the past. I mean aren’t we all supposed to learn from our past. Don’t they say history repeats itself. So you better not do the same stupid things you did in the past. How can we completely ignore our past.

Anyways I know they can corner me on this. But they are not reading this blog. He might, but he already has given up on me.

What is missing the presence of which would make a difference?

Now this one was a real tricky one. Kinda like mathematical theorem or a linear equation. So, what is missing in your life? This time she came close to my seat and directly asked me that question. “I don’t know, I can’t figure out. See the area I chose was love and romance…so what is missing… well the area is not working out and I am single, so what is missing…A man I guess?” I know it was funny but no body laughed at my answer. They were just too surprised to hear me speak.

“Ok, assume you had that special man in your life. Assume you have a committed relationship? How would you feel then?” She had already done this personalized bit with another guy so I knew where was she going.

I was being naïve though. I said, “How would I know, how would I feel unless I have been through it. I have never been into a relationship and I honestly don’t know how does it feel.

She was not happy with the answer. She asked again, “how would your life be if you had that man.”

“Life would be different for sure. I wouldn’t have to always call my friends for a drink. I would have one man for all time to exercise all my rights on him. I would have some one to call at the end of the day to generally crib about what happened at work. [There would be a lot of sex happening (ok that I didn’t say)] so life would be a bit different from what it is now.”

“Yes, but how would you feel.”

“I don’t know, may be I’ll feel good may be I’ll think what a pain is this relationship. I just cannot understand how can I say how would I feel to have a relationship when I have never been into one. You see Mam, I am an atheist, a non believer, I just do not believe that everything is great. I want a relationship in life, yes, but I am not certain it’s all going to be a bed of roses. I am sorry but I don’t understand.”

“Hmm! Think about it. Keep thinking.” And she gave up.

I got inattentive after this. It was 10.30 in the evening and I was hungry like a wolf. I had by now made up my mind, my life is too complicated to be fixed in 3 days.

The last part was something about inventing a new possibility. We were to declare to ourselves what is our new possibility. Like she had declared “I would get my house decorated.” I declared, “some day I’d get it right. Some day some where I’ll find him. No issues if I don’t.”

After this she told us to take out the registration form and started instructing us how to fill it. “Write your full name, your age at the second column….”

I immediately interrupted, I said, “Excuse me Mam, I am a bit confused, was this session only for those who decided to join the forum?

“No, its absolutely your choice. But allow us to help you take a decision.” There were many more volunteers standing in the back of the room. The moment she said that, they all came close to each one of us, sat by our side. One of them came to me as well. I had kept my pen down by this time murmuring, “I decide to not join.”

So Mr. T came to me to help me take a decision. I told him I have already decided. He was very smiley and happy. He said he wasn’t there to insist but to revisit that question, what is missing?

Let me tell you where was he trying to go, where did the earlier volunteer try to go and how is it like a linear equation.

How would you feel if you had that man?” Assuming my answer to this question is, “I would feel happy, I would feel being taken care of, being loved, would feel important and would be content.”

This implies ­­=> you are not happy, not being loved, not being take care of and ‘Hence Proved’ something about your life is not right and that is affecting your productivity in every aspect and therefore you need to work on this aspect and you do that by joining the Landmark Forum.

I thanked Mr. T, thanked the volunteer, told them the introduction session got me thinking a lot. LF has been helpful.

Outside the hall, back on Bangalore road, me and my host had to deal with the blood sucking Auto-rakshasas to reach Hotel Empire for dinner.

Post dinner he casually referred to making a Goa trip with his friends. I said I wanna go too. He agreed to take me.

I came home over exited and happy already with the Goa trip, a little voice somewhere kept saying this can’t be true, such nice things don’t happen to you, but I was exited nonetheless. Today morning he said the Goa trip is cancelled. I asked if we can make some other trip he said he doesn’t have time.

Life goes on, someday somewhere I’ll get it. Or may be I won’t. Either ways no regrets.

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